Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Overending by Rick Johnson

Welcome to my stop on the review tour for The Overending by Rick Johnson. The Overending is a 274 page middle grade fantasy book that is available now.

Rick will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click here to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more stops you visit, the more chances you earn to win.


The Overending is nonstop, fast-paced, mind-bending fantasy. Fantastic and quirky, exhilarating and addicting, this entertaining adventure takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end. Ridiculous, but deadly serious. Hits you hard in the funnies, while turning your mind inside out. The Overending continues the unfolding epic saga of the Wood Cow Chronicles—a fantastical, magical, completely unexpected world that swallows both kids and adults whole!


A crash would mean certain, perhaps instant, death. The only hope was to keep the spinning airship off the deadly peaks. His mind racing, even as nausea made him gasp for breath, Emil realized that survival required one desperate step.

“PorNart, my friend,” Emil said, “I’m going to take a big chance and—I’ll either save us both, or we both die.”

Emil reached upward and grasped the anchor rope coiled and fastened overhead. Used only to secure an inflated balloon to the ground, the rope currently had no purpose. Uncoiling the rope, Emil wrapped it several times around PorNart’s body and knotted it securely. Taking the remaining length of rope, Emil looped it under his arms and knotted it in the same fashion.

“Now for the tricky part,” Emil thought grimly. One by one, Emil removed the safety-lock pins from the latches connecting the balloon to the passenger enclosure with all its equipment. Then, he released one latch after another. SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! The passenger capsule fell free from the sturdy ropes securing it to the balloon. In a short time, only two ropes remained. Swinging and bucking wildly, the heavy capsule tore free from the last two latches without any help from Emil. SNAP! SNAP!

With the weight of the capsule gone, the balloon climbed rapidly. Charging upward, the balloon flew towards the saw-toothed ridge ahead with two figures dangling below by a single slender rope.

My Review

"Act wisely, learn quickly, and think bravely, that others may live."  

The Overending is volume two of the Wood Cow Chronicles. While it can be read as a standalone, I think that it would be helpful to read volume one, Helga: Out of Hedgelands, before starting The Overending.

As the High One's tyranny spreads across the land, no one is safe. The first chapter of The Overending drops you off right in the middle of the action. Emil and PorNart are escaping from Maev Astute (the great castle of the High One) in a balloon.

Emil (a member of the Wood Cows clan) and PorNart (a member of the Coyote clan) unwittingly land in the middle of an abolitionist movement. They get caught up in SLOPS (shorthand for Slave-Losing Operations), a motley crew of animals that are working against the High One's slaving system.

When fifteen-year-old Helga hears of her brother Emil's escape and new mission, she rushes to warn him of the High One's aim to shut down SLOPS. Reunited against the great danger, Helga and old allies join forces in a chain of events that foretell the Overending.

"If worries were years, Helga would see that I lived a long life" - Helbara

Character-driven and fast-paced, The Overending is a epic tale that weaves a story of fantasy with strings of humor, morality, and ethics. Neither preachy or high-handed, I think that readers (both children and adults) will find this story thoughtful and engaging.

"Our stories are not divided into yours and ours." TrimWagg

I especially liked the attention to detail on the various clans. I could really picture them in my mind. If I had to describe the book using books that I've read, I'd say The Overending is Animal Farm meets Lord of the Rings.

Recommended for:
  • Fans of middle grade fiction
  • Fans of fantasy

Volume three of the Wood Cow Chronicles will be released in November 2014. Check out the sneak peak preview chapter over on Wattpad.

NOTE: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. See the tour schedule for additional stops.

About the Author

I am a native of the Great Plains, having grown up on a farm in the Platte River Valley of western Nebraska. I love the wild beauty of the Plains and nearby Rocky Mountains--the too hot, too cold, too empty, too full of life extremes. Typically, the awesomely diverse and the awesomely stark are much the same, even as they are different. Although I have lived in Michigan, North Carolina, and British Columbia, the western plains, mountains, and desert are in my heart.

As my day job, for over thirty years I have been a faculty member and administrator in higher education. Teaching broadly in the liberal arts, including creative writing, in addition to my novels, my professional publications include educational materials, poems, and 28 stories for young readers. I am a member of SCBWI.

As an author, I'm drawn to eccentric, unexpected characters: those who surprise because they hear a distant galaxy, see a different music, create their own fragrance rather than get hooked on a soundtrack; the child who has her own ideas about how the emperor is dressed; the lunatics and rebels who tell stories on the boundaries. I tell unusual stories that take readers to worlds they never imagined—definitely a whole new ride.




  1. Thanks for hosting and reviewing The Overending. I invite all those who stop by to connect on social media as they like. Thanks also for mentioning that a sneak peek on Volume #3 of my Wood Cow Chronicles series is up on Wattpad. The cover for Volume #3 will be up over there also later today and on my other social media sites. Here's my contact info for those who want to explore my work further or connect on social:

    You can find my books here:






    You can connect with me here:






    1. Thanks for sharing your book! I enjoyed the preview chapter of volume three on Wattpad. I look forward to reading it.

      I'll drop by Wattpad again later on today to check out the cover.

      Who designs your covers?

  2. Wonderful review, I can't wait to read the book.


    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments after you've read it!

  3. Thanks so much for the review!


  4. Enjoyed the excerpt, I think I'll enjoy this book. Thank you brown_angel 123at) yahoo(dotcom

    1. Glad you liked the excerpt. When you get a chance to check out the entire book, I'd love to hear your comments!

  5. Sounds like a good book. Thank you for the giveaway!


  6. A helpful review thank you.


  7. What was the inspiration for these books? brown_angel 123at) yahoodot)com